Biden pitches tax plan in Pennsylvania as Trump stews in court

John T. Bennett, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

Biden even tried out a new derisive nickname for the expected general election foe: Donald “Herbert Hoover” Trump, dropping the name of the 31st president, under whom the Great Depression occurred.

The incumbent Democrat and presumed Republican nominee have cast each other as aiming to take money from the pockets of middle-class voters, a key voting bloc that is expected to again play a major role in deciding who will be elected president in November.

Trump’s Truth Social videos and Biden’s message in his hometown again showed their vast divide in thinking about taxes.

Biden renewed his call for the wealthiest Americans and corporations to pay their “fair share” — meaning more than they pay currently. The former president continued to support new tax cuts for those same rich individuals and lucrative companies, arguing reducing tax rates for both would turbocharge the economy and create new jobs for middle- and lower-class Americans.

The views of the presumed nominees — which heavily influence their congressional conferences’ stances — will matter next year. That’s because parts of the 2017 tax law Trump signed when he was president are set to expire late next year. That means whoever is sworn in on Jan. 20 will help shape what, if anything, might replace the expiring provisions.

Several polls taken last month in Pennsylvania showed Trump either up a few percentage points or the two candidates tied in a head-to-head race. One survey, from Franklin & Marshall College, gave Biden a 10 percentage point lead.

An average as of Tuesday compiled by RealClearPolitics of the Franklin & Marshall poll and five others gave Biden a 2.3 percentage point advantage. But on economic and financial issues, respondents gave Trump the edge.

For instance, Trump had a 52% to 35% edge in the Keystone State when asked which candidate would better handle the economy, according to a Wall Street Journal survey conducted March 17-24. On inflation and still-high prices, which both candidates address regularly at public events, Trump had a 53% to 33% edge.

The Franklin & Marshall survey drilled down on the issue of taxes, with taxes coming in fourth among a list of responses when registered Pennsylvania voters were asked: “What do you think is the most important problem facing Pennsylvania today?” Eighteen percent responded “economy, finances,” while 14% responded “government, politicians.” Ten percent went with “crime, drugs, violence, guns,” and 6% answered “taxes,” tied with “education, school.”


Asked what is the main reason those registered voters felt “worse off financially,” 41% responded “inflation,” while 17% answered “cost of living” and 6% cited food costs. Another 12% went with the cost of goods in general. Four percent responded “Bad Democratic policies, Biden,” according to Franklin & Marshall.

Echoing GOP lawmakers, Trump contends Biden would hike taxes for most Americans in a second term. Biden and his campaign surrogates contend his proposals would target the biggest earners and wealthy corporations.

Trump used a video posted on his social media site Monday evening, on Tax Day, to hammer Biden over inflation. The 45th president contended Americans have been “paying (the) stealth tax of Joe Biden’s massive inflation, stealth tax like nobody’s seen before either. … It’s been a disaster for the American taxpayer.”

Biden’s Tuesday speech was about more than tax policy. He also raged against Trump for, as president, canceling his own participation in a ceremony honoring American troops killed in France during World War II.

“Why? He said those soldiers who gave their lives were ‘suckers and losers,’” Biden said, raising his voice. “Who the hell does he think he is? Who does he think is?”

Meantime, about 130 miles away in the Manhattan courtroom, Trump mostly let his attorneys do the talking. But not the entire time. At one point, Judge Juan Merchan admonished the former president for making gestures and talking as potential jurors were being questioned.

“I won’t tolerate that,” Merchan told a Trump attorney, according to media reports from inside the courthouse. “I will not have any jurors intimidated in this courtroom. I want to make that crystal clear.”


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